Many thanks to the Government, which has made an unprecedented thing in the Ukrainian history of budgeting: for the first time the Parliament has the opportunity to study the budget not the night before the vote and to draw its conclusions.
We must learn to live in the real world and pragmatically assess our capabilities. Opportunities are formed on the basis of incomes. We need to spend as much as we actually earn, not to inflate earnings for unreasonable funding of public institutions.
We consider the forecast for real GDP growth by 3% unacceptably optimistic, and urge the government to be realistic and expect a GDP growth of 1.5%. Government’s excessive hopes to collect a lot of taxes and mythical revenues from privatization and confiscated property cause concerns. Only these two articles of the Budget artificially increase the revenues by 27 billion, which can eventually turn into nothing, just as it happened this year.
Therefore, if the state does receive real money from privatization and confiscation, we recommend to send it to an off-budget fund and use it for the development of Ukrainian production.
Instead, we ask the government to consider the following proposals, which will increase the budget revenues:
1) We need to bring the minimum wage to its actual rate in the economy – up to 2,500 hryvnias. This will allow taking salaries out of shadow and bringing at least 11 billion the budget, which should be spent on increasing the social standards and guarantees for the population.
2) To introduce mandatory cash registers for imports – this will reduce the abuse and corruption in the customs and attract tens of billions of hryvnias to the budget.
3) Introduction of a minimum social tax liability per hectare and return of the special regime of taxation in villages.
The key principle in the formation of the expenditures for financing the authorities should be the optimization of the functions and implementation of e-governance. This minimizes the cost of maintaining the authorities, minimizes the bureaucracy and corruption. Despite this, we can see a clear increase of expenditures on average by 15-20%.
We need to put an end to this squandering, people are not supposed to maintain an inefficient state apparatus. We expect the government to completely reform the executive branch. This alone can save 10 billion hryvnias.
We should pay particular attention to 3 black holes in the budgeted.
The first one is financing of the Pension Fund. We are once again offered to vote for a pig in a poke. The Ministry of Social Policy failed to explain the structure of this money expenditure. It neither plans to carry out verification of pensions and social benefits, and finally restore order in the Pension Fund and Social Insurance Fund, which will potentially let find 25 billion hryvnias to increase pensions.
The second black hole is the Ministry of Defence. Last year we allocated 55 billion for the sector of security and defence, in 2017 this will make 66 billion. I have a question to the people in this hall, who knows how these funds were spent? What has been purchased, and most importantly, what did the soldiers actually receive out of this? “State secret” covers for enormous corruption schemes, while the army is left not only without modern arms, but without the most necessary things. Now they are asking for another 66 billion, of which 51 billion will go to the army. What does the Ministry intend to buy with these funds? Where will they go? The Parliament has no access to this information, and therefore it has no right to vote for what it knows nothing about.
And the last black hole, though not as big as the previous two, but the most shameful one. Maintenance of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine costs almost 1 billion hryvnias. Neither I nor other members of the Samopomich faction had a chance to seen the estimates of the Verkhovna Rada.
Samopomich faction insists on transparency and realistic approach to the budget formation and invites the Government to work constructively. The faction will not vote blindly for a single hryvnia that people have to pay.